Bhaitika today, 11:55 am auspicious hour

KATHMANDU: The most important day of Tihar, the festival of lights, is being marked today with sisters offering 'tika' to their brothers. Sisters throughout the country offer 'tika' to their brothers wishing them happiness, long life and prosperity on the occasion of Bhai tika.

In return, the brothers pledged to protect their sisters from all kinds of adversities. The auspicious hour for offering the 'tika' is 11:55 am this year. It, however, can be held until sunset, according to Chairman of National Calendar Determination Committee Prof Dr Ramchandra Gautam.

On this day, brothers are seated at a specially anointed place around which a trail of mustard oil is drawn. The sisters then offer the brothers 'tika' and garlands of 'Dubo' and 'Makhamali'.

After placing colourful 'tika' on the foreheads of their brothers, sisters offer them a treat consisting varieties of sweets, walnut, spices and 'Sel', a special kind of bread cooked in oil.

Brothers also offer their sisters 'tika' in return, wish them happiness and good luck, and give them presents.

The occasion commemorates a legendary event in which a sister has won a boon from "Yama", the deity of death that her brother would not die until the mustard oil is dried up and the garland of 'Dubo' and 'Makhamali' faded.

The Bhaitika tradition is so strong in Nepali society that even those who have no brothers or sisters of their own receive tika from others whom they regard as brothers and sisters.

Meanwhile, today also marks the beginning of Nepal Sambat calendar.

The Nepal Calendar Determination Committee had announced Mha Puja (worship of oneself) to be on October 28, however, Newar Community is observing Mha Puja together with Newari New Year (Nhu Danya Bhintuna) today this year.

Similarly, Kija Puja (Newar version of Bhai Tika) will be celebrated on tomorrow.